Five leading Central Indiana philanthropic organizations have joined forces to create a new $3.2 million fund to respond to a rising demand for help to local people hardest hit by the economic meltdown.
The funds will be used by frontline community centers, faith-based organizations and homeless prevention providers who are “first responders” in helping people deal with the worsening economy.
Lilly Endowment Inc, Central Indiana Community Foundation, Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation Inc., Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust and United Way of Central Indiana made the announcement at a news conference today in Indianapolis. Additional donors include the Efroymson Family Fund, Indianapolis Retirement Home Fund and individuals.
“We have many wonderful traditions in our community. One of the best is the way we come together to help our neighbors when help is needed most,” said Brian Payne, president and CEO, Central Indiana Community Foundation.
“These are extraordinary times,” said N. Clay Robbins, president of Lilly Endowment. “The human service organizations and programs that philanthropic funders support year in and year out are facing unprecedented demand. Additional support is needed. Lilly Endowment is pleased to make this contribution for the Community Economic Relief Fund to help the organizations on the front lines care for those most in need in our community.”
An estimated 45 agencies in Marion and surrounding counties are expected to apply for the funding, according to Payne. It will be used to help with emergency rent, mortgage and utility assistance; to respond to anticipated increases in homelessness; and to provide food for organizations like Meals on Wheels, Second Helpings and Gleaners Food Bank that supplies more than 430 charities in 20 counties, Payne explained.
In the past year, Connect2Help has recorded a 27 percent increase in calls for help, said Lynn M. Engel, the agency’s executive director. An added concern, she said, are those who haven’t called either because they don’t know whom to call, are in denial that their problems warrant it, or expect that government assistance will be available.
The group is also launching an awareness campaign. Its message: If you’re experiencing financial stress, call for help sooner rather than later. That simple step could mean keeping more options open when it comes to recovery.
The multimedia campaign invites people in need to “Get help. Don’t wait. Call 2-1-1.” It features a line of dominos with symbols for the top reasons people have sought help from 2-1-1: housing, utilities and food.
The campaign will total more than $230,000 of in-kind costs over five months.
“Asking for help early – before eviction occurs or utilities are disconnected – means you have more options,” explained Ellen K. Annala, president and chief executive of United Way of Central Indiana. “We hope this outreach will prevent a devastating chain reaction that a single bad financial event can trigger.”
Thank you to funds from the CICF family for contributing $10,000 or more to the Community Economic Relief Fund:
- James Proctor Fund for Aged Men and Women
- The Indianapolis Retirement Home Fund
- Legacy Fund
- Efroymson Family Fund
- Frank Curtis & Irving Moxley Springer Fund
- Pulliam Charities Fund
- Blackwell Williams Fund
- Meyer Family Fund
- The Indianapolis Foundation